'Kidnapper' Shirts Don't End Well for Child Welfare Staff

Arizona Department of Child Safety workers reportedly wore 'Professional kidnapper' tees
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2020 7:53 AM CDT
'Kidnapper' Shirts Don't End Well for Child Welfare Staff
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Simankova)

An Arizona Department of Child Safety office is a bit short-staffed these days, reportedly because several workers were fired after wearing eyebrow-raising attire. Sources tell the Arizona Republic that multiple DCS employees in Prescott were canned after a photo circulated showing them wearing bright pink T-shirts, seemingly during work hours, with the words "Professional kidnapper" emblazoned on the front. Splashed across the back: "Do you know where your children are?" The newspaper notes the shirts were apparently a joke spoofing the department's reputation among critics as taking kids away from their families too easily. One person who wrote to the DCS director to complain about the garb: former DCS worker Christina Sanders, who says she saw the photo and that the Prescott office was notorious for having a culture of entitlement and bullying.

"They think they're so untouchable, they don't think they can get caught," Sanders says. Although she never heard back directly from the director about her complaint, she soon heard whispers that a mass firing had taken place—with enough workers gone that there's reportedly only one investigator left in the Prescott office. A DCS spokesman would only say in an email, "The department does not comment on personnel matters." Most of the supposedly fired workers contacted by the Republic wouldn't speak about what had happened. But one did note that the shirts were meant as a joke among co-workers to help ease a stressful job. The head of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona doesn't see it that way. "It really illuminates that people in the system are biased against parents," Claire Louge says. (More Arizona stories.)

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